Trenton's Bad Grammar Candidates





by Dan Dodson

Say what you want about a candidate, but when they consistently use poor grammar they make the people they represent look foolish.

The problem in Trenton with bad grammar candidates is so pervasive, I can't imagine where to start. The insanity of sitting in an audience listening to a college educated candidate promote education using "street English" is almost unbearable. Unfortunately, in some races, particularly for North Ward Council, we have no good alternatives.

I for one am more comfortable with a candidate who, through his command of the English language, shows that he's intelligent, well read and a role model for students. A poorly spoken candidate is one who likely didn't pay attention in school and isn't disciplined in his thinking.

So far in the 2006 Trenton elections, I can report the following "grammar observations" about our candidates.

Milford Bethea N. Ward
  • Poor grammar
  • Repeatedly used the noun "partnership" as a verb
  • Subject and verb rarely agreed
Dennis McKithen N. Ward
  • Poor grammar
  • Problem keeping subject and verb in agreement
Harry Luna S. Ward
  • Perfectly fine accented English
  • A bit "street" in his tone but otherwise a pleasure to hear
Jim Coston S. Ward
  • Perfect grammar
  • The best educated candidate
  • A Preacher, so clear speech is his trade
  • Hopefully when he's elected we can send him to Washington to speak for us
John Ungrady S. Ward
  • Wow, Just as unintelligible as ever! Makes poor grammar and diction worse by refusing to hold a microphone away from his mouth.
Jim Carlucci At Large
  • Good grammar
  • Jim has a touch of Trenton accent in him but I can't think of time when his grammar was bad
Manny Segura At Large
  • Almost unintelligible
  • Manny's lived in Trenton for 30 years so you'd think basic English would have come to him by now
  • The Mayor put him on the School Board which is most amusing
  • In the last election, published ungrammatical campaign literature
  • Somebody needs to help him
John Harmon Mayor
  • Good grammar
  • John lets a little slang slip in to his speeches, but its probably for effect and to let voters know he's one of them
Tony Mack Mayor
  • Good grammar
  • Tony can sometimes get a "Sunday sermon" riff going that takes liberties with proper English but I suspect that's on purpose.
  • No one accuses Jesse Jackson of bad grammar either
Frank Weeden Mayor
  • Good grammar
  • Sometimes muffles his words
  • Sometimes talks in obtuse terms
Doug Palmer Mayor
  • Good Grammar
  • Like Harmon and Mack, slips into slang only for affect
  • Speaks more clearly than any of the other mayoral candidates



Dan Dodson is a management consultant and Leadership Trenton Fellow.

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Copyright 2006, Dan Dodson